2 John 1:7
For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
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1:7-11 The deceiver and his deceit are described: he brings some error concerning the person or office of the Lord Jesus. Such a one is a deceiver and an antichrist; he deludes souls, and undermines the glory and kingdom of the Lord Christ. Let us not think it strange, that there are deceivers and opposers of the Lord Christ's name and dignity now, for there were such, even in the apostles' times. The more deceivers and deceits abound, the more watchful the disciples must be. Sad it is, that splendid attainments in the school of Christ, should ever be lost. The way to gain the full reward is, to abide true to Christ, and constant in religion to the end. Firm cleaving to Christian truth unites us to Christ, and thereby to the Father also; for they are one. Let us equally disregard such as abide not in the doctrine of Christ, and those who transgress his commands. Any who did not profess and preach the doctrine of Christ, respecting him as the Son of God, and salvation by him from guilt and sin, were not to be noticed and countenanced. Yet in obeying this command, we must show kindness and a good spirit to those who differ from us in lesser matters, but hold firmly the all-important doctrines of Christ's person, atonement, and holy salvation.For - Ὅτι Hoti. This word "for" is not here to be regarded as connected with the previous verse, and as giving a reason why there should be the exercise of mutual love, but is rather to be understood as connected with the following verse, 2 John 1:8, and as giving a reason for the caution there expressed: "Because it is a truth that many deceivers have appeared, or since it has occurred that many such are abroad, look to yourselves lest you be betrayed and ruined." The fact that there were many such deceivers was a good reason for being constantly on their guard, lest they should be so far drawn away as not to receive a full reward.

Many deceivers are entered into the world - Are abroad in the world, or have appeared among men. Several manuscripts read here, "have gone out into the world," (ἐξῆλθον exēlthon,) instead of "have entered into," εἰσῆλθον eisēlthon. The common reading is the correct one, and the other was originated, probably, from the unusual form of the expression, "have come into the world," as if they had come from another abode. That, however, is not necessarily implied, the language being such as would he properly used to denote the idea that there were such deceivers in the world.

Who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh - Who maintain that he assumed only the appearance of a man, and was not really incarnate. See the notes at 1 John 4:2-3.

This is a deceiver - Everyone who maintains this is to be regarded as a deceiver.

And an antichrist - See the notes at 1 John 2:18; 1 John 4:3.

7. As love and truth go hand in hand (2Jo 3, 4), he feels it needful to give warning against teachers of untruth.

For—giving the reason why he dwelt on truth and on love, which manifests itself in keeping God's commandments (2Jo 6).

many—(1Jo 2:18; 4:1).

are entered—The oldest manuscripts read, "have gone forth," namely, from us.

confess not … Jesus … in the flesh—the token of Antichrist.

is come—Greek, "coming." He who denies Christ's coming in the flesh, denies the possibility of the incarnation; he who denies that he has come, denies its actuality. They denied the possibility of a Messiah's appearing, or coming, in the flesh [Neander]. I think the Greek present participle implies both the first and the second advent of Christ. He is often elsewhere called the Coming One (Greek), Mt 11:3; Heb 10:37. The denial of the reality of His manifestation in the flesh, at His first coming, and of His personal advent again, constitutes Antichrist. "The world turns away from God and Christ, busily intent upon its own husks; but to OPPOSE God and Christ is of the leaven of Satan" [Bengel].

This is a, &c.—Greek, "This (such a one as has been just described) is the deceiver and the Antichrist." The many who in a degree fulfil the character, are forerunners of the final personal Antichrist, who shall concentrate in himself all the features of previous Antichristian systems.

See 1Jo 2:18,22 4:3.

For many deceivers are entered into the world,.... By whom are meant false teachers, who are described by their quality, "deceivers", deceitful workers, pretending to be ministers of Christ, to have a: value for truth, a love for souls, and a view to the glory of God, but lie in wait to deceive, and handle the word of God deceitfully; and by their quantity or number, "many", and so likely to do much mischief; and by the place where they were, they were "entered into the world"; or "gone out into the world", as the Alexandrian copy and some others, and the Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions read; See Gill on 1 John 4:1; and by their tenet,

who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh; these were not the Jews who denied that Jesus was the Christ, though they would not allow that Christ was come in the flesh; but these were some who bore the Christian name, and professed to believe in Jesus Christ, but would not own that he was really incarnate, or assumed a true human nature, only in appearance; and denied that he took true and real flesh of the virgin, but only seemed to do so; and these are confuted by the apostle, 1 John 1:1; and upon everyone of these he justly fixes the following character.

This is a deceiver and an antichrist; one of the deceivers that were come into the world, and one of the antichrists that were already in it; and who were the forerunners of the man of sin, and in whom the mystery of iniquity already began to work; for antichrist does not design anyone particular individual person, but a set of men, that are contrary to Christ, and opposers of him.

{3} For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

(3) Antichrists fighting against the person and office of Christ had already crept into the Church, in the time of the apostles.

2 John 1:7. In this verse the apostle addresses himself to the warning against the false teachers, whom he first more particularly characterizes. The ὅτι, with which the verse begins, indicates that the foregoing exhortation to mutual love has its origin in the fear of their being disturbed by the influence of the false teachers; but it is not to be inferred from this that ὅτι is grammatically dependent on ἐρωτῶ σε. It would be grammatically possible also to regard this verse as the premiss on which 2 John 1:8 is based (Grotius, Carpzovius), but such a construction is at variance with the peculiarity of John’s diction.

ὅτι πολλοὶ πλάνοι] The expression πλάνοι does not elsewhere appear in John; comp. on the other hand, Matthew 27:63; 2 Corinthians 6:8; 1 Timothy 4:1; instead of it in 1 John 2:26 : οἱ πλανῶντες ὑμᾶς.

With this passage may be compared 1 John 2:18 ff; 1 John 4:1.

ἐξῆλθον [εἰσῆλθον] εἰς τὸν κόσμον does not denote separation from the Church; κόσμος does not here form the antithesis of the ἐκκλησία τοῦ Θεοῦ; the sense is rather the same here as in John 4:1. The difference between εἰσῆλθ. and ἐξῆλθ. is only this, that by the latter expression the point of departure is more definitely indicated.

οἱ μὴ ὁμολογοῦντες κ.τ.λ.] comp. 1 John 4:2-3; on the N. T. usage of the article before the participle after πολλοί, comp. Buttm. p. 254; μὴ ὁμολογεῖν = ἀρνεῖσθαι. The μή is not to be explained, with Winer (p. 428; VII. p. 450), by the fact that the participle refers to a representative class (= quicumque non profitentur), but it is used just as in 1 John 4:3 : ὁ μὴ ὁμολογεῖ; see on this passage.

Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν ἐρχόμενον ἐν σαρκί] is to be taken just as the words 1 John 4:2, that run almost exactly similarly. The present participle ἐρχόμενον, instead of which ἐληλυθότα is used there, expresses the idea in itself—apart from the idea of time; comp. John 6:14; Bengel incorrectly: qui veniebat, with an appeal to 3 John 1:3, for in this passage ἐρχομένων and μαρτυρούντων, by their close connection with ἐχάρην, are distinctly indicated as imperfect participles; such a connection does not exist here, nor are we to interpret, with Baumgarten-Crusius: “He who was to come;” still more incorrectly Oecumenius takes it as future participle, referring it to the second coming of Christ.

οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ πλάνος καὶ ὁ ἀντίχριστος] οὗτος refers back to οἱ μὴ ὁμολογοῦντες κ.τ.λ. By ὁ πλάνος the apostle resumes the preceding πλάνοι; by ὁ ἀντίχριστος he adds a new characteristic.

The definite article indicates these ideas as familiar to the readers; the Antichrist of whom they have heard, comp. 1 John 2:18.

The singular is here used in collective signification (Lücke); the many are the Antichrist, inasmuch as the same πνεῦμα τῆς πλάνης is in all; comp. further, the remarks on 1 John 2:18.

2 John 1:7-8. A Warning against Heretical Teaching. “Because many deceivers went forth into the world—even they that confess not Jesus as Christ coming in flesh. This is the deceiver and the Antichrist. Look to yourselves, that ye may not lose what we wrought, but receive a full wage.”

7. For] Or, Because. Some would make this conjunction introduce the reason for 2 John 1:8 : ‘Because many deceivers have appeared … look to yourselves.’ But this is altogether unlike S. John’s simple manner; to say nothing of the very awkward parenthesis which is thus made of ‘This is … Antichrist.’ ‘For’ or ‘Because’ points backwards to 2 John 1:5-6, not forwards to 2 John 1:8. ‘I am recalling our obligations to mutual love and to obedience of the Divine command, because there are men with whom you and yours come in contact, whose teaching strikes at the root of these obligations.’

many deceivers] The word for ‘deceiver’ (πλάνος) reaches that meaning in two ways. 1. ‘Making to wander, leading astray.’ 2. ‘Vagabond,’ and hence ‘a charlatan’ or ‘impostor.’ The former meaning is predominant here. It is rare in N. T. Comp. Matthew 27:63. S. John uses it nowhere else, but not unfrequently uses the cognate verb, ‘to lead astray’ (1 John 1:8; 1 John 2:26; 1 John 3:7).

are entered into the world] Rather, are gone forth (אAB and Versions) into the world: literally, went forth; but here the English perfect idiomatically represents the Greek aorist: in 1 John 4:1 we have the perfect in the Greek. ‘The world’ here may mean ‘the earth’ or ‘human society’: or we may take it in S. John’s special sense of what is external to the Church and antichristian; see on 1 John 2:2. The meaning may be that, like the many antichrists in 1 John 2:18, they went out from the Church into the unchristian world. Possibly the same persons are meant in both Epistles. Irenaeus (a.d. 180) by a slip of memory quotes this passage as from the First Epistle (Haer. III. xvi. 8).

who confess not] More accurately, as R. V., even they that confess not: the many deceivers and those who confess not are the same group, and this is their character,—unbelief and denial of the truth. ‘Confess not’ = deny.

that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh] This is not quite accurate; nor does R. V., ‘that Jesus Christ cometh in the flesh’, seem to be more than a partial correction. Rather, that confess not Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, or possibly, that confess not Jesus as Christ coming in the flesh. See on 1 John 4:2, where the Greek is similar, but with perfect instead of present participle. These deceivers denied not merely the fact of the Incarnation, but its possibility. In both passages A. V. and R. V. translate as if we had the infinitive mood instead of the participle. The difference is, that with the participle the denial is directed against the Person, ‘they deny Jesus’; with the infinitive it is directed against the fact, ‘they deny that He cometh’ or ‘has come.’ Note that Christ is never said to come into the flesh; but either, as here and 1 John 4:2, to come in the flesh; or, to become flesh (John 1:14). To say that Christ came into the flesh would leave room for saying that the Divine Son was united with Jesus after He was born of Mary; which would be no true Incarnation.

This is a deceiver and an Antichrist] Rather, This is the deceiver and the Antichrist: a good example of inadequate treatment of the Greek article in A. V. (see on 1 John 1:2). Luther is more accurate; ‘Dieser ist der Verführer und der Widerchrist’. The transition from plural to singular (see on 2 John 1:6) may be explained in two ways; 1. The man who acts thus is the deceiver and the Antichrist; 2. These men collectively are the deceiver and the Antichrist. In either case the article means ‘him of whom you have heard’: ‘the deceiver’ in reference to his fellow men; ‘the Antichrist’ in reference to his Redeemer.

This completes the series of condemnatory names which S. John uses in speaking of these false teachers; liars (1 John 2:22), seducers (1 John 2:26), false prophets (1 John 4:1), deceivers (2 John 1:7), antichrists (1 John 2:18; 1 John 2:22; 1 John 4:3; 2 John 1:7). On the Antichrist of S. John see Appendix B.

7–9. Warnings against False Doctrine

7–9. The third element in the triplet of leading thoughts once more comes to the front, but without being named. Love and obedience require, as the condition of their existence, truth. It is in truth that ‘the Elder’ and all who love the truth love the elect lady and her children; and they love them for the truth’s sake. Truth no less than love is the condition of receiving the threefold blessing of grace, mercy, and peace. And it was the fact that some of her children were walking in truth, while others seemed to be deserting it, which led the Apostle in the fulness of his heart to write to her. All this tends to shew the preciousness of the truth. Love of the brethren and loyal obedience to God’s commands will alike suggest that we should jealously guard against those who by tampering with the truth harm the brethren and dishonour God and His Son.

2 John 1:7. Ὅτι, because) The reason why he bids them keep the things which they have heard from the beginning.—πολλοὶ, many) 1 John 2:18; 1 John 4:1.—εἰσῆλθον) have entered. The world is averse from God and Christ, busily intent upon its own husks: but to oppose God and Christ is of the leaven of Satan.—ἐρχόμενον, who came) Thus ἐρχομένων, 3 John 1:3. Comp. ἐληλυθότα, who is come, 1 John 4:2.—οὗτός ἐστιν, this is) A gradation. This very person is the character of a great impostor and antichrist. No other of a more dreadful appearance is to be sought.—πλάνος, a seducer) opposed to God.—ἀντίχριστος, antichrist) opposed to Christ. The warning against antichrist belongs even to women and young men: 1 John 1:4-5. Antichrist denies the Father and the Son; and does not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.

Verse 7. - For. These are no mere generalities, and it is not without reason that these facts are insisted upon. The dangers which they suggest are not imaginary. Mischief has already been done by neglecting them. "Deceiver" πλάνος here means "seducer," one who causes others to go astray. The cognate verb πλανᾷν is frequent in St. John, especially in the Revelation (Revelation 2:20; Revelation 12:9; Revelation 13:14; Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:3, 8, 10), and commonly indicates seduction into grave error (comp. 1 John 1:8; 1 John 2:26; 1 John 3:7). The true reading ἐξῆλθον gives "are gone forth," not "are entered" εἰσῆλθον. We cannot be sure that "are gone forth" refers to their leaving the true Church; although 1 John 2:18 inclines us to think so: it may mean no more than that they have gone abroad spreading their erroneous tenets. Just as "love not" in 1 John 3:10, 14, 15 and 1 John 4:20 is equivalent to "hate," so "confess not" here is equivalent to "deny." These seducers deny "Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh," or (as the Greek may possibly mean) they deny "Jesus as Christ coming in the flesh." The present participle ἐρχόμενον seems to indicate exactly the position of some of the Gnostic teachers. The Jew denied that the Incarnation had taken place - the Messiah had not yet come. The Gnostic denied that the Incarnation could take place: no such Person as the Christ coming in the flesh was possible; that the Infinite should become finite, that the Divine Word should become flesh, was inconceivable. The teacher who brings such doctrine as this "is the deceiver and the antichrist" about whom the elder's children had been so frequently warned. In the strong language which St. John here and elsewhere (1 John 2:22, 26; 1 John 4:1) uses respecting those who deny or pervert the truth, we hear the voice of the "son of thunder," ever jealous about whatever touched the honour of his Lord. Such hatred of error was the outcome of a firm grasp, and profound love, of the truth. It is easy to imitate and to exceed such strength of language; but let us beware of doing so without having first attained to an equal comprehension of the truth, and an equal affection for it. The strong words of the apostle are the expression of a glowing conviction. Our strong words are too often the expression of a heated temper; and a man who loses his temper in argument cares more about himself than about the truth. Let us remember the noble words of St. Augustine to the heretics of his own day: "Let those rage against you who know not with what toil truth is found, and how difficult it is to avoid errors; who know not with how much difficulty the eye of the inner man is made whole; who know not with what sighs and groans it is made possible, in however small a degree, to comprehend God." 2 John 1:7Deceivers (πλάνοι)

See on we deceive ourselves, 1 John 1:8.

Are entered into (ἐξῆλθαν εἰς)

Rev., are gone forth into. The A.V. follows the reading εἰσῆλθον entered into. The tense is the aorist, strictly rendered, went forth. It may indicate a particular crisis, at which they went forth from the Christian society.

Who confess not (οἱ μὴ ὁμολογοῦντες)

The article with the participle describes the character of this class of deceivers, and does not merely assert a definite fact concerning them. Compare Mark 15:41, "other women which came up with Him" (αἱ συνσνσβᾶσαι). Confess. See on Matthew 7:23; see on Matthew 10:32.

Is come (ἐρχόμενον)

Wrong. The verb is in the present participle, coming, which describes the manhood of Christ as still being manifested. See on 1 John 3:5. In 1 John 4:2 we have the manifestation treated as a past fact by the perfect tense, ἐληλυθο.τα has come. Rev., that Jesus Christ cometh. So in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, τῆς ὀργῆς τῆς ἐρχομένης is the wrath which is coming; which has already begun its movement and is advancing: not merely, as A.V., the wrath to come, which makes it wholly a future event. See on lingereth, 2 Peter 2:3.

An antichrist (ὁ ἀντίχριστος)

Rev, rendering the definite article, the antichrist. See on 1 John 2:18.

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